Rangers knock off Yanks

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NEW YORK – Vicente Padilla pitched into the seventh inning and Brad Wilkerson hit a two-run homer to lift the Texas Rangers over the New York Yankees 6-2.

Kevin Mench also had two hits for the Rangers, who salvaged a split of their four-game series against New York. Padilla (4-3) allowed two runs and three hits in 6 2-3 innings.

Yankees starter Jaret Wright (2-2) was strong in the first six innings but ran into trouble in the seventh when the Rangers broke through for four runs. Mench led off with a single and Wilkerson then hit a 2-2 pitch from Wright into the first row of the upper deck in right for his seventh homer.

Wright hit Mark DeRosa with a pitch before he was pulled for Scott Erickson. A walk and a sacrifice forced the Yankees to play their infield in and Gary Matthews Jr. hit a slow roller to second baseman Robinson Cano, who bobbled the grounder and threw the ball past catcher Kelly Stinnett.

DeRosa and D’Angelo Jimenez scored to give Texas a 4-0 lead. Cano’s off-target throw was New York’s second error of the game and its 17th miscue in its last 11.

Johnny Damon hit a two-run single off Francisco Cordero in the bottom half but Cordero rebounded to strike out Derek Jeter with runners on first and second to get out of the inning.

Akinori Otsuka struck out the side in the ninth in his first appearance since he allowed Jorge Posada’s game-winning homer in the ninth inning of New York’s 14-13 win Tuesday.

The Rangers added two runs in the ninth on Rod Barajas’ third homer of the season and Mench’s RBI groundout.

New York’s injury-riddled outfield took another hit in the fifth when Bubba Crosby left the game with a strained right hamstring after lining a single to right. Crosby is listed as day to day.

Sluggers Gary Sheffield (left wrist and hand) and Hideki Matsui (broken left wrist) are already on the disabled list.

Wright retired the first eight hitters he faced before Barajas singled with two outs in the third. He worked six-plus innings, giving up six hits and three runs.

Notes: Texas 3B Hank Blalock sat out with a stomach virus. … Yankees OF Melky Cabrera made his third start in right field because manager Joe Torre said he was having trouble picking up the ball in left. Cabrera made a nice diving catch on Michael Young’s liner in the first and a nice running grab of Young’s drive in the sixth. … Yankees RHP Tanyon Sturtze, on the 15-day disabled list, was examined by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., to get a second opinion on his injured right shoulder. Andrews confirmed the initial diagnosis of a small rotator cuff tear and bursitis. Sturtze will have surgery on the shoulder next week, the team said. … Yankees RHP Carl Pavano was not optimistic one day after he threw only nine pitches before leaving a rehab start at Double-A Trenton because of soreness in his right arm. He said Thursday he couldn’t straighten out his arm. … Padilla struck out six and walked three.

AP-ES-05-18-06 1631EDT

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